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Linen is made from the fibers found within the stem of the flax plant. To obtain these fibers, the plant was first soaked in water to rot the tough outer skin; a process called "retting". Then the plant was pounded and scraped using special tools to remove the outer skin. The last process before spinning was hatchelling, which involved pulling the fibers through a series of spiked-tooth tools, much like brushes, of varying degrees of fineness, to thin out shorter pieces and remove any tangles. The setting of the spikes on this hatchel indicate that it might have been one of the first used in the hatchelling process before moving on to a hatchel with spikes set closer together.
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